What does the social system of Colombia have in common with other countries of the so-called "Third World"? That it is a country in which a "bureaucratic capitalism" has developed, which prevents the democratic and independent development of the country, as revolutionaries from Colombia argue.
In its recently republished article, "The thesis of bureaucratic capitalism is a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thesis," the Communist Party of Colombia (Red Faction) defends this thesis applied in many countries, providing revealing insights into social systems of countries that are described as "developing countries" by their rulers.
Today's world system, imperialism, the article argues, is based on the domination of a small number of powerful countries over the vast majority of oppressed countries. Before this large number of countries in their history had the possibility of independent capitalist development, as it happened, for example, after 1848 in many countries of Europe, their development was inhibited and interrupted from the outside. This is the starting point of the thesis of bureaucratic capitalism, which was originally defined by the Chinese communist Mao Zedong as follows: „Bureaucratic capitalism is the capitalism that imperialism develops in the backward countries"(1). While the rulers talk about developing the economies of backward countries through investment and economic aid, in reality they „build up their own bureaucrat-capital, i.e., the capital of the big landlords, bankers and compradors (2)".
The article emphasizes that bureaucratic capitalism is not limited to economic domination, but in the course of its development it became a form of state: „It goes through a process by which bureaucratic capitalism combines with state power and becomes state monopoly capitalism, comprador and feudal". Thus, the authors criticize a position which describes the thesis of bureaucratic capitalism as outdated or valid only for individual countries. The thesis of bureaucratic capitalism describes not only a specific policy, but the social system in all those countries that are inhibited in their development by the great powers and kept in a de facto pre-capitalist state of semi-feudality and semi-coloniality.
This analysis is therefore of elementary importance, the authors argue, since it forms an essential basis for social liberation in the oppressed countries. Bureaucratic capitalism [gerade] prevents a democratic and independent development, which allows the conditions for a new democratic revolution (3) to ripen. With this article, the authors also draw an important dividing line between a revolutionary theory and various reformist positions, which are currently receiving increased attention due to Gustavo Petro's election victory. The article also provides an important basis for understanding that Petro can in no way be a "leftist“. This was confirmed once again by Petro's recent self-confession in an interview with "The Economist," where he described himself as a supporter of the "German-style social market economy" (4).
(1) All quotes are taken from the article "The thesis of bureaucratic capitalism is a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thesis."
(2) Merchant class, "middlemen" between imperialist foreign capital and national (feudal) economy.
(3) "New democratic revolution": a democratic revolution of a new type, which is no longer led by the bourgeoisie but by the proletariat.
(4) Handelsblatt, Elections in Colombia (19.06.2022)